Auchtertool, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Fife Gotoarrow.png Auchtertool

Parish #406 

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Auchtertool. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.


AUCHTERTOOL, a parish, in the district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife, 4 miles (W. by S.) from Kirkcaldy; containing the village of Newbigging. This place is supposed to derive its name, signifying, in the Gaelic language, "the high grounds on the river Tiel," from its elevated situation with respect to that stream. The church, which was substantially repaired in 1833, is situated within a mile of the village, and is adapted for a congregation of about 300 persons.[1]

Auchter is said to be a Gaelic word signifying a height and Tool seems to be a corruptioin of Tiel, a rivulet which rises in the parish and runs through it; hence Auchtertool signifies the higher grounds on the Tiel.  There are several streams in the parish and a loch called Camilla situated near the east end of the parish.

Livestock in the parish consists almost wholly of horses and black cattle.  There is one farm on which Cheviot sheep are bred.  The usual crops are raised in the parish including potatoes, turnips, oats, wheat, barley, and hay.  There are several whinstone quarries in the parish as well as a freestone quarry and a limestone quarry, for the use of the tenants of the land owners and not sold.  There is an extensive brewery in the village of Auchtertool which has been long in good repute for its products which are shipped as far away as London.

The population in 1801 was 396 and in 1831 was 527.  The increase can be attributed to improvements in agriculture and in the roads.  The average number of marriages for the last 7 years was 6 and of births was 11.  No registers of deaths are kept.  The number of families in the parish is 125 with an average of 3 1/2 children.  In the last three years there were 4 illegitimate births.  There are two villages in the parish, Auchtertool and Newbigging, with populations of 329 and 75.  The number of families attending the Established Church is 92, and those attending the chapels of dissenters and seceders is 23.  There are three schools: the parochial school, a private school and an infant school.  The average number of children attending the three is 150.  There is a parish library established in 1824, and there is a savings bank.  There are no inns but six ale-houses.  Fuel is the coal used in the parish, taken from colleries within or nearby the parish.

The above extract is taken from the account written in November 1836.

Source:  The New Statistical Account of Scotland, for Fife.  FHL book 941 B4sa, 2nd series, vol. 9.  

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish you are interested in. Also available at the Family History Library

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Auchtertool as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Number Surname Indexes
1841      1042699 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042252 941.33 X22f
1861 0103825 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103986 none
1881 0203517 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208747 none

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access indexes through the library.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1708-1840 1040149 items 3-4
1839-1855 1040194 items 1-2
Marriages: 1708-1839 1040149 items 3-4
1839-1854 1040194 items 1-2
Deaths: 1830-1855 1040194 items 1-3

Condition of Original Registers

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: Births are intermixed throughout with marriages.
Marriages: Proclamations and marriages are often separately recorded.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. FHL British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of he minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1738–1799, 1806–1885
Cash Books 1800–1895
Communion Rolls 1846–1876
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/25.

Nonconformist Church Records

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

No records are available.

The number of families attending the chapels of Dissenters and Seceders was 23 in 1840. These would have attended church in neighboring parishes.

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records

Auchtertool was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St. Andrews until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Fife at Cupar. Probate records for 1513-1901 are indexed online at . You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Fife and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Fife.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Fife. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Fife and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.' 

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 72-84. Adapted. Date accessed: 24 April 2014.

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